“Amateur” — It’s Not an Insult

I’ll never forget the two sentences my music minister told us.

I was in a youth music group at my hometown church, and he was talking to us about two possible motivations for singing. Both sentences were short, only six words. In fact, they were both made up of the same six words. Only the order was slightly different. Guess which sentence illustrated the attitude he wanted us to have:

“I have to sing a song.”
“I have a song to sing.”

The first is what the “professional” might say. He or she works hard, wants to get it right, feels obligated to get it right.

The second sentences better describes the heart of the “amateur.” From Latin and French, the word amateur means “one who loves.” He or she works hard, wants to get it right for the joy of doing it well.

If you guessed that our leader encouraged us to “…have a song to sing,” you are absolutely right. A big smile crept over his face as he said, “I love amateurs.”

Which sentence fits you? It depends on whether you want to convey a message or to showcase your talent.

The same goes for my present work, writing: “I have to write a story” vs. “I have a story to write.”

Whatever work I do, whether for pay or not, I want to please my Creator by doing it. If I am doing it for him, I will pursue my work with

The excellence of a professional
The ardor of an amateur.

As near as I can figure, that motivation will breathe life into any project I tackle.

How about it — are you an amateur, too?

Thanks for reading,

Welcome, Soli Deo Gloria sisters and other friends! I hope you will check out the other bloggers linking up with Jen this week.

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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8 Responses to “Amateur” — It’s Not an Insult

  1. I love it that amateur means one who loves! I didn’t know that. It is wonderful to be around those who love what they do.


  2. Jan, I will gladly claim the title ‘amateur’ This was a great take on singing and writing. (something I do a little of each. did that make sense?)


  3. 2wheelerme says:

    What a neat story to get me thinking.


  4. Dionne says:

    I think I learn something new everyday!! I thought amateur was an insult too. Your post has me thinking this morning and couldn’t come at a more perfect time when I have been contemplating why I do things and who I am doing it for…I have to teach art vs I have art to teach. Yesterday, at MOPS, it was a good meeting, but something happened that wasn’t planned or under my control. It wasn’t bad, but it made me not be the amateur in my thinking…so THANK you for helping me! Thank you for your comments…such kind words! Still praying for your writing.


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